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Nationwide Advocacy Service

Independent Mental Health Advocacy

What is an IMHA?

An IMHA is a specialist advocate who provides a statutory service to qualifying patients under the Mental Health Act 1983. IMHAs provide an additional safeguard for those under the Act and are independent of the professionals involved in the care and treatment of the patients they are supporting. An IMHA can help qualifying patients to understand their rights under the Act and ensure that they participate in decisions being made about them.

Who is a qualifying patient?

Service users detained under the Mental Health Act (1983) including:

  • Service users on leave from hospital;
  • Conditionally discharged restricted patients;
  • Service users subject to guardianship;
  • People ‘liable to be detained’;
  • Service users on supervised community treatment (SCT).

Informal patients if:

  • They are being considered for section 57 treatment;
  • Under the age of 18 and being considered for section 58a treatment.

The Rights and Duties of an IMHA:

An IMHA will support an individual to raise their wishes and concerns, and to exercise their rights under the Mental Health Act (1983).

An IMHA will help you to understand:

  • Your section and your rights;
  • The rights which other people (nearest relatives) have in relation to you;
  • Any conditions or restrictions you may be subject to;
  • The medical treatment being given, proposed or discussed.

An IMHA can:

  • Ensure your views are heard;
  • Speak on your behalf;
  • Support you to access information;
  • Help you to raise concerns;
  • Support you to make informed decisions;
  • Help you to be involved in decisions about your future;
  • Talk to you in private.

Advent’s IMHAs:

Our specially trained IMHAs combine academic excellence with applied practice enabling them to work with service users from all backgrounds and of varying needs, to promote equality, social justice and social inclusion, and support service users to feel empowered.

At Advent Advocacy, we pride ourselves on our highly flexible approach, which is tailor-made for our service users and providers. Our non-adversarial approach supports service users to accomplish the best outcomes. We can also work to support effective therapeutic relationships between service users and service providers.

Our independent and confidential service can be accessed by clients on a regular basis because our IMHAs actively spend time on the wards. Our service model allows for regular, routine set visiting times. This unique style of working enables us to maintain relationships with our clients and the professionals providing their care.

For more info about our IMHA service please contact us